A few weeks ago, M bought Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
(important note: Whenever I say that my husband ‘bought’ a book it means that he downloaded the audio book. When I say he ‘read’ a book, it means he listened to it on his commute. This is how he has ‘read’ more books than I have in the past two years.)
Anyway, barely a chapter in, he began to insist that I read it as well.
The book had been on my list. I watched Ms. Chua make the talk show rounds earlier this year and I was intrigued. Her strict, hours-of-piano-playing, only-straight-As, no-sleepovers parenting style seemed extreme to me. But as my own parenting style was still developing, I figured that there had to be something to learn. And, in some of her interviews, Ms. Chua showed a glimmer of the flexibility and humility that I respect in fellow parents. Because anyone who believes that they can rigidly control every moment and raise a child exactly as they had planned has clearly never RAISED A HUMAN.
So I purchased the book. And it sat on my iPad for weeks. Frankly, I was a little bit scared.
M wanted me to read while he listened so that we could discuss the book as we went along. But he couldn’t wait for me to get up the nerve and he finished the book before I even started. He is now a Tiger Mom in training. In the past week, he has spent hours drilling Baby on numbers and letters. He bought her 3 new preschool workbooks and one story book that is clearly above her level. He insists that she count EVERYTHING. And she insists that nine comes directly after four.
I’m on page 16 now. And I’m having trouble reading between the lines to discern what is sarcasm, when Ms. Chua intends to be self-deprecating, and what she truly believes.
So I’m still scared. But I keep reading.